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Discussion Starter #1
Annie is 5 1/2 months now. She's very very reliable regarding house broken. At night, she sleeps next to my bed and has never strayed from her bed. She has her adult teeth now, so that problem is swiftly becoming history. She will be spayed in 3 weeks. Around the house, she has never chewed one thing of mine, furniture, nothing. She just seems to know what is hers.

I am at home all the time and she is used to my constant presence. Even when I run errands, both of my dogs are more than welcome to ride along. In other words, Annie has never been separated from me.

It is time for me to start working on this.

How young is proper? How long in the beginning? Do you start by just going outside for a few minutes? Can someone give me a game plan? It has been almost 20 years since I had to teach this to a new pup.

I have a senior dog in the house that I could easily confine elsewhere while I am not in the house.

I had a very serious hiccup in her progress recently regarding a crate. It was all good until I changed it out for a much larger one 10 days ago. The door operated differently and it became a real issue. I am thinking that forcing her into a crate while at the same time leaving her alone for extended periods is overload. I am truly trying to do this without use of any crate.
 

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If it were me I would work on getting her okay with the crate again before you work on the alone time. I reason I say that is because I would not leave a 5 1/2 month old puppy at home alone without a crate. I tried that with my girl Jade when she was about that old. We never had any problems at night, or when we were home so we started to leave her out while we were gone for short periods of time. She did okay at first and then she didn't. Chewed a hole in the wall, tore up several sections of the floor, and chewed on the bottom of my brand new bookshelf. And all that was just in the kitchen. Needless to say, no more free time for her. About a month ago (she was 9 months) we tried again. This time she got her ball stuck under the coach and ripped a huge hole into our nice reclining leather couch. My fault for leaving the ball out, but still, no more free time for her for a little while.

Anyway, the point to all that is that I would high recommend getting her comfy with the crate again before she try leaving her alone. With puppies that young, no matter how well behaved they are when we are around, you just never know what they are going to do while we are gone. Not worth the risk in my opinion.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
your answer is probably wise. i have experienced dogs gone wild in my past. i am going to have to bite the bullet and get this pup comfy with the crate again. thanks. i think i knew the answer but didn't want to face it. to date, training has been pretty easy and i just think i was being lazy and wanted to skip over this problem of crates.
 

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I did this with my pup when he was 6 months old. My DH is with him all day long but started out leaving him out of his crate in 15 to 20 minute increments. He started out by putting him in his crate with the door open and giving him a treat (this was what we were doing when we would leave him and crate him) and then leaving him.

We slowly worked up to 2 hours and he is still good so I'm crossing my fingers that he's ok from here on out.

If you are worried maybe you can put her in an expen and see how she does.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
currently the crate sits there. she won't even step inside. i have lured her in a couple of times. i even got in there with her a couple of times. i've tossed treats in. i put her toy basket in there. she sits and stares at the toys. i think this weekend, i am actually going to return the crate and find one with a swing door. the drop down door just plain freaks her out.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
i think i forgot to mention, my pup was using a crate agreeably and all the time until about 10 days ago. but it all changed with the new bigger crate that she desperately needed, but the door was different and she has fought it ever since.
 

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Ranger is 10 months old now, but he was a lot like your girl at 5.5 months. I was so tempted to let him out of the crate when I left the house, but I decided I really ought to wait. I waited until a few weeks ago and so far so good (knock wood). Today I left for a couple of hours and forgot that I had 2 dozen cookies cooling on the counter. I thought, uh oh, and was happy that they didn't have any chocolate in them. Much to my surprise everything was fine when I got home. I actually had left food out on the counter before - a stew in a crock pot, or muffins in a container and Ranger hasn't touched them, but I was convinced that those warm smelly cookies just out in the open would be too much to pass up.

Even with todays good results I am still keeping my fingers and toes crossed that I have not set Ranger up for failure.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
yep that's my focus, i really want to set this dog up for success at every level. that is part of my disappointment with the crate. i am an older female and this is probably the last dog i will ever own. i have enough stamina to get thru this puppy stuff but am truly wanting a wonderful and stable dog in the future. it's probably too soon. i think i just have to suck it up and make friends with the crate again.
 
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